web analytics
September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Khaled Abu Toameh’

Khaled Abu Toameh: Mahmoud Abbas’ “Mother of All Letters”

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas deserves an award for being the best master of gimmicks in the Middle East.

After his failed statehood bid at the UN Security Council and his unsuccessful attempts to end the power struggle between his Fatah faction and Hamas, the 76-year old Abbas has resorted to his old habit of issuing empty threats.

Abbas’s most recent threat, his aides said this week, was to send the “mother of all letters” to the Israeli government regarding the stalled peace process.

Abbas’s explosive letter will hold Israel alone responsible for the failure of the peace process, mainly because of its refusal to halt construction in the settlements and accept the pre-1967 lines as the borders of a future Palestinian state, the aides revealed.

They added that the president was busy these days writing the “mother of all letters,” which will be sent to the Americans and Europeans before it is delivered to the Israeli government.

By describing the letter as the “mother of all letters,” Abbas and his aides are hoping to create drama and suspense over the stalled peace talks with Israel.

The Palestinian leadership is hoping that the sensation surrounding Abbas’s letter will shift worldwide attention back to the Israeli-Arab conflict.

They are worried that Iran has stolen the limelight from the Palestinian issue – they are therefore trying to win back the attention of the world.

Abbas and his representatives expressed that concern this week after hearing the speech of US President Barack Obama before AIPAC’s annual gathering in Washington.

Noting that the speech had completely ignored the Palestinian issue, Palestinian officials in Ramallah voiced “deep disappointment” with Obama.

On March 7, Abbas convened yet another urgent meeting of PLO and Fatah leaders in Ramallah to discuss the content of this “mother of all letters” which he intends to send to Israel. The meeting, which came less than 48 hours after Obama’s speech, reflected the increased concern of the Palestinians over the world’s fading attention to their problems.

Nevertheless, no one in Ramallah is expecting Abbas’s dramatic letter to contain anything new.

The most extreme scenario would be a threat by Abbas to dismantle the Palestinian Authority and submit his resignation.

It would be hard to find one Palestinian who would be surprised if Abbas’s letter included such a threat, particularly in light of the fact that the Palestinian president has talked about stepping down and dissolving the Palestinian Authority on numerous occasions in the past.

Some Palestinians are already referring to the “mother of all letters” as another one of Abbas’s “gimmicks”. “The Israelis must be preparing the shelters because they are so scared of Abbas’s letter,” a Palestinian political analyst remarked sarcastically. “Many people have become used to Abbas’s gimmicks and empty threats.”

Instead of wasting his time on writing the “mother of all letters,” Abbas should return to the negotiating table with Israel immediately and unconditionally to ensure a better future for his people. Gimmicks and tricks will not help advance the cause or interests of the Palestinians.

 

Originally published by Stonegate Institute www.stonegateinstitute.org

Khaled Abu Toameh: Arabs Are Beginning to Miss the Dictators

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

On the first anniversary of the “Arab Spring,” many Arabs are beginning to wonder whether they would soon start missing the corrupt dictators who ruled them for the past few decades.

The “Arab Spring” was supposed to bring democracy, transparency and reform to the Arab world. It was supposed to end human rights violations and see the birth of a free and independent media.

The “Arab Spring” was supposed to promote the rights of women and minorities in the Arab world and encourage young Arabs and Muslims to abandon extremist views and terrorism.

The “Arab Spring” was supposed to be led by young and charismatic Western-educated activists who would bring moderation and pragmatism to the Arab world.

The “Arab Spring” was supposed to turn the Arab countries into attraction for tourism and investors from all around the world.

But judging from the outcome of the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, it is evident that the ‘Arab Spring” has failed to achieve any of these goals. As far as many Arabs are concerned, their “spring” has thus far proven to be a total disaster.

Residents in several Arab countries affected by the “Arab Spring” protests said they feel less safe now than they did before the uprisings, according to a study conducted by Abu Dhabi’s Gallup Polls.

The four Arab countries where the leaders have been toppled are now in the hands of Muslim fundamentalists, who used the “Arab Spring” as a vehicle to rise to power.

Tunisia’s Islamist party, Ennahda, is already demanding an Islamic state. Human rights activists say that with the arrival of the “Arab Spring,” freedom of speech in Tunisia, instead of growing, has died.

Nabil Karoui, owner of a Tunisian TV station, is currently on trial for blasphemy after airing the French-Iranian animated film “Persepolis,” which features a cartoon depiction of God. About 150 lawyers filed lawsuits against Karoui for “violating sacred values” and disturbing public order.”

Two weeks ago, hundreds of Muslim fundamentalists who follow the radical Wahhabi doctrine of Islam took to the streets of Tunis to demand the implementation of Sharia laws in their country.

The “Arab Spring” has also seen the rise of Islamists to power in Egypt, where the country is jointly controlled by a military dictatorship and Muslim Brotherhood.

The military rulers are responsible for massive abuse of human rights and freedom of expression, while the Muslim Brotherhood and their even more radical rivals, the Salafis, are working hard to turn Egypt into an Islamic state.

Libya and Yemen, the other two countries affected by the “Arab Spring,” are on the brink of civil war. Libya has fallen into the hands of dozens of armed ruthless militias, some of which are affiliated with Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda. In Yemen, Arab political analysts say that it is only a matter of time before the country falls into the hands of Al-Qaeda.

In these four Arab countries, women, Christians, journalists, human rights activists, and political opponents are being targeted, and in some instances slaughtered, on a daily basis either by the new rulers or militiamen and Muslims fundamentalists.

The “Arab Spring” is anything but a “great revolution.” It is a spring of massacres, destruction and violence, as Patriarch Beshara al-Rai, the head of Lebanon’s Maronite Church, put it.

“We are with the Arab Spring but we are not with this spring of violence, war, destruction and killing,” he told Reuters. “This is turning to winter. We cannot implement reforms by force and arms. How can it be an Arab Spring when people are being killed every day?”

 

Originally published by Stonegate Institute www.stonegateinstitute.org

Khaled Abu Toameh: The Hate Business

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

The fact that thousands of Palestinian patients receive medical treatment in Israeli hospitals each year did not stop Palestinians from voicing opposition to a visit by Israeli physicians to Ramallah last week.

The Israeli physicians arrived in Ramallah as part of a tour that was organized by the Palestinian Authority.

The physicians visited the Palestine Medical Compound and another clinic to learn about the Palestinians’ medical services in the West Bank.

The presence of the physicians in Ramallah drew furious reactions from the workers at the medical compound and many Palestinians, including the Western-backed Fatah faction headed by Mahmoud Abbas.

Some doctors and nurses claimed that the physicians were in fact Israeli army officers. Palestinian media outlets quoted “eyewitnesses” as saying that the army vehicles and soldiers accompanied the Israeli doctors during the tour. Attempts by the Palestinian Ministry of Health to explain that the visitors were not army officers have thus far fall fallen on deaf ears.

Fatah activists in Ramallah denounced the tour as a form of “normalization” with Israel. They reminded the Palestinian Authority that its leaders had repeatedly urged Palestinians to resist all forms of “normalization” with Israel.

The Palestinian fury over the visit of the Israeli medical team to Ramallah is a sign of increased radicalization among Palestinians. It is also a severe blow to those Israelis and Palestinians who continue to talk about coexistence and peace between the two sides.

If anyone stands to lose from boycotting Israeli physicians it is the Palestinians themselves.

Because the Palestinian Authority has not invested enough in improving medical services in the West Bank and Gaza Strip over the past two decades, many Palestinians continue to rely on Israel for proper medical treatment.

Some of the Palestinian’s top leaders, including ministers and the former mufti of Jerusalem, were among tens of thousands of Palestinians who underwent life-saving surgery in Israeli hospitals over the past two decades.

Scores of Palestinian physicians receive training in Israeli hospitals every year and many even seek the assistance of their Israeli colleagues in treating patients who are admitted to Palestinian hospitals. Some Palestinians sold their homes and lands to be able to cover the expenses of being admitted to an Israeli hospital.

But instead of welcoming Palestinian-Israeli cooperation in the medical field, some Palestinians are calling for boycotting those who are trying to save the lives of their own patients.

The Palestinian Minister of Health, Fathi Abu Mughli, is now facing sharp criticism for permitting the Israelis to visit the medical center. Some Palestinians have gone as far as calling on the Palestinian government to bring him to trial for his “crime.”

But to his credit, Abu Mughli has come out in defense of the visit, arguing that he did not advocate a boycott of Israeli physicians and medical services. The minister explained that it would be foolish of Palestinians to boycott Israeli doctors and hospitals at a time when many Palestinian patients are being treated in Israel.

Palestinians who are opposed to “normalization” with Israeli physicians are the victims of years of indoctrination and messages of hate emanating from their leaders and media. And some Palestinians have become so enriched by hatred that it it would not pay for them to stop.

 

Originally published by Stonegate Institute www.stonegateinstitute.org

Khaled Abu Toameh: Hamas and Fatah Want a New Intifada

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Hamas and Fatah have lately ratcheted up their rhetoric against Israel in a clear bid to distract attention from their failure to end their power struggle. By backing a “popular resistance” against Israel, Hamas and Fatah are hoping to distract attention from their failure to end their dispute and form a unity government.

The two rival Palestinian parties are hoping that Palestinians would turn their anger and frustration toward Israel and not toward either of them.

This is why over the past few weeks leaders and officials representing Hamas and Fatah have been talking about a ‘third intifada’ that is about to erupt in the West Bank and Gaza Strip against Israel.

Both Hamas and Fatah have been urging Palestinians to step up “popular resistance” against Israel.

The two parties are telling Palestinians that Israel does not want peace or a two-state solution and is only interested in maintaining control over Palestinian lands and “Judaizing” Jerusalem.

The stepped-up anti-Israel rhetoric has resulted in a sharp increase in Palestinian violence against IDF soldiers and settlers in the West Bank and Israeli policemen in east Jerusalem.

Last week, a young Palestinian man from a village near Jerusalem was killed during a confrontation with IDF soldiers. The man, Talat Ramia, was among a group of Palestinian demonstrators who hurled stones at soldiers.

Ramia and his friends took to the streets because Fatah and Hamas had warned the Palestinians that Jewish extremists were planning to “storm” the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Because of the warning, hundreds of Muslim worshipers clashed with Israeli policemen following last Friday’s prayer at the mosque.

At the same time, Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip have also gone on high alert by firing more rockets at Israeli targets.

Although the two parties have signed a number of “reconciliation” accords over the past few years, the latest being earlier this month in Qatar, they have failed to implement any of the agreements.

The most recent attempt to implement the Qatar-brokered agreement between Hamas and Fatah took place in Cairo last week. However, following three days of discussions, Hamas and Fatah agreed to delay talks over the formation of a unity government because of the wide gap between the two sides.

Many Palestinians are deeply disappointed with Fatah and Hamas, which have been fighting each other since the Islamist movement came to power in 2006. Hamas and Fatah are aware that many Palestinians are increasingly frustrated with the ongoing dispute between the two sides.

They are afraid that one day the Palestinians may erupt against Fatah and Hamas. Some Palestinians have even begun talking about organizing an uprising against the two parties.

To avoid such a scenario, Hamas and Fatah are now working hard to direct the heat toward Israel. Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Mashaal know that only a new intifada against Israel will help them stay in power: Palestinians will be too busy fighting Israel.

 

Originally published by Stonegate Institute www.stonegateinstitute.org

Khaled Abu Toameh: Israel Not to Blame in Gaza

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Who is stopping the Palestinians from turning the Gaza Strip into the Middle East’s Hong Kong? Is it Israel, the Palestinians themselves, or the Arab countries?

In the past few weeks, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has visited a number of Arab and Islamic countries in a bid to secure financial aid for “rebuilding” the Gaza Strip.

Haniyeh returned to the Gaza Strip this week with a suitcase full of promises from Iran, Qatar, Sudan, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates to help the Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip.

Some of the Arab countries promised to provide cement and construction material, whiles others pledged to fund various economic and housing projects there.

But the Palestinians have become used to empty promises from the Arab and Islamic countries.

In the past, the Arab League promised $4 billion in aid to the residents of the Gaza Strip. However, Palestinians say that so far they have seen almost nothing from the Arab and Islamic countries.

Earlier this year, Hamas accused the Palestinian Authority of laying its hands on a few million dollars that were donated by some Arab and Islamic countries for helping the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Authority has denied the charge.

Of course it is easy to blame Israel for the ongoing crisis in the Gaza Strip; that is exactly what Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and the rest of the Arab and Islamic countries have been doing.

Israel alone , they say, is to blame for everything that goes wrong in the Gaza Strip. If there is a problem of drugs in the Gaza Strip, it must be the Israelis who are behind it.

And when there is no electricity in the Gaza Strip, both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority often rush to blame Israel for the crisis.

But the Palestinian Center for Human Rights announced this week that Palestinians — not Israel — were to blame for the electricity crisis.

The human rights group pointed out that Hamas announced that the operation of the Gaza Energy Plant was stopped because it ran out of fuel.

Until recently, the fuel used to be smuggled from Egypt through underground tunnels. Before that, the fuel was bought from Israel, and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank used to cover the costs. But because of the dispute between Hamas and Fatah, the Palestinian Authority stopped its contribution.

Palestinian Authority officials have accused Hamas of stealing the fuel for its own institutions and vehicles.

So if anyone is to blame for the fact that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been left without electricity it’s both Hamas and Fatah.

Also, when there’s a shortage of medicine in the Gaza Strip, Hamas usually hold the Palestinian Authority responsible for failing to deliver them to the Gaza Strip.

When Israel left the Gaza Strip back in 2005, the Palestinians had the opportunity to turn the coastal area into the Arab world’s Singapore.

Everyone, including Israel and Jews living in the US and Canada, was prepared to help the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. But the Palestinians chose instead to turn the Gaza Strip into a center for Islamist groups.

These groups have since brought nothing but death and destruction to the residents of the Gaza Strip. Today, the Gaza Strip is counting to march backward. Backed by many Palestinians, the radicals continue to call the shots, and there is no hope for the emergence of moderate forces in the foreseeable future.

That is the main reason the Arabs and Muslims are not eager to transfer billions of dollars to the Gaza Strip. They know that money will go to purchasing missiles and ammunition there instead of building new schools and hospitals.

 

Originally published by Stonegate Institute www.stonegateinstitute.org

Why Hamas Wants To Join the PLO

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Hamas’s decision to join the PLO is seen by some Western analysts and governments as a sign that the Islamist movement is headed toward “moderation” and “pragmatism.”

But in 2012, if the agreement with Abbas is implemented, Hamas will take control over the PLO.

Hamas is joining the PLO not because it has changed, but out of a desire to make the Fatah-dominated organization stick to its true mission: the liberation of Palestine from Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea — in other words, all the land that is currently Israel — and to achieve the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees to their original villages and homes inside Israel.

Once Hamas takes control over the PLO, it will seek to cancel all agreements and understandings reached between the organization and Israel, above all the 1993 Oslo Accords. Hamas also wants the PLO to withdraw its recognition of Israel.

Hamas leaders and spokesmen are openly saying that joining the PLO does not mean that they would recognize Israel’s right to exist or abandon the “armed struggle” against the Jewish state.

“Anyone who thinks that Hamas has, or will, change is living under an illusion,” declared Hamas representative Osama Hamdan.

Hamdan is one of several Hamas officials who have been trying in the past few days to explain to the world that his movement has not abandoned its radical ideology and will in fact continue to fight for the “liberation of all Palestine.”

But all these clarifications from the Hamas leaders regarding their true intentions seem to be falling on deaf ears in the West.

Some Western analysts have begun talking about the “new Hamas,” one which is about to accept the two state solution and abandon the “armed struggle” in favor of a peaceful and popular uprising against Israel.

Some European government officials are also ignoring the Hamas clarifications, insisting that the movement’s decision to join the PLO is an indication that it has abandoned its dream of replacing Israel with an Islamist state.

Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas’s agreement to incorporate Hamas [and other radical groups, such as the Islamic Jihad] into the PLO has left some of his top aides deeply worried about the future of the organization.

These aides are correctly concerned that the decision would facilitate Hamas’s takeover of the PLO.

Abbas, however, seems to see the rise of Islamists in the Arab world and is worried that the “Arab Spring” will soon arive in the West Bank — with or without him — so that he might as well be a part of its radicalization rather than have it happen despite him. He is also disappointed with Israel and the United States for refusing to comoly with all of his demands — the most important od which was Israel’s full withdrawal to the armistice lines of 1948, better known as the pre-’67 lines.

The agreement that was struck in Cairo last week calls for holding elections for the PLO’s two most important bodies: the Palestine National Council and the Executive Committee.

Hamas leaders are confident that their representatives will win the elections, turning the Islamist movement into the largest faction of the PLO.

The “Arab Spring,” which has brought Islamists to power in a number of Arab countries, and the recent prisoner exchange agreement with Israel, have only bolstered Hamas’s stature among Palestinians.

A top Fatah official this week voiced concern over Abbas’s invitation to Hamas to join the PLO: “Abbas is paving the way for Hamas to take control not only over the PLO, but the entire West Bank as well,” he said.

Further, Hamas is being integrated into the PLO without having to make any concessions.

The Islamist movement is not being asked to accept the PLO’s strategy of conducting peace talks with Israel. Nor is it being asked to honor all agreements signed between the PLO and Israel. Even worse, Hamas is not being asked to renounce violence as a precondition for joining the PLO.

In 2006, Hamas won a free and fair parliamentary election. A year later, the movement took full control over the Gaza Strip after forcebly exiling the Palestinian Authority, throwing its members off the roofs of buildings.

Those who think that Abbas’s invitation to Hamas to join the PLO is a positive step for the peace process are deluding themselves. Hamas, according to its leaders, is joining the PLO because it wants to “liberate Palestine from the river to the sea,” and not because it is interested in becoming part of the peace process.

But in the West, most analysts do not want to hear what Hamas says in Arabic.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/why-hamas-wants-to-join-the-plo/2011/12/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: